Interview With a Survivor

October 19th, 2016 | Tiffany Gladstone

I met Colette Griffin when I was 14 years old. She ended up marrying my father, and we, including their two children from previous marriages, became a family. She is a Partner at her law firm and is very hardworking. My birth mother died of Cancer, so when I heard Colette had breast cancer, I was devastated.

What surprised me was how well Colette handled herself during the time she had cancer. She was very optimistic and had a good attitude. She beat the cancer in a little under a year.

Growing up in Westport, CT, Colette was always passionate about animals and has rescued many animals throughout her life. So, when she was diagnosed, I was like how could it happen to someone like her?

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TG: What was your reaction when you first found out you were diagnosed with Breast cancer?
CG: I was in disbelief. I thought they had the wrong person. But then I went for a routine Mammogram and I got a call saying that they thought I needed to go in for another exam. I didn’t say anything. Then they found a lump on the ultrasound and recommended that I get a biopsy. I’ll never forget this hour; I got a call at 9:55 A.M and the doctor told me I had breast cancer. I wanted to know what did this mean. I was on my way to court and I remember I fell apart when I got there. Then I decided that the way I needed to approach this situation was to pull myself together and deal with it.

TG: How did your friends and family take it?
CG: Some people were supportive. I didn’t want to accept a lot of help, but my sister did things that she knew would be helpful. My boyfriend Mike, took off from work to support and be there for me
Did you ever feel scared and powerless during the time you had breast cancer?
I was definitely scared EVERY step of the way. I was afraid of everything. I was very afraid of the anesthesia. I was also concerned about the side effects of the chemo. But I figured I needed to do it or take my chances with the cancer.

TG: What was it like to get chemo-therapy?
CG: When they were taking blood, they frequently couldn’t find the veins so I started to get used to getting poked at and being uncomfortable. What I will say though is that the health care staff did their best to make the environment very comfortable and nurturing. The chemo sessions could last up to four hours and they pumped you with different drugs that made you tired. I was frequently low on energy and fatigued.

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TG: What advice would you give to other women going through Breast cancer?
CG: I found the silver lining of having breast cancer. Through the process, you discover how powerful you are as a woman. You realize that hair doesn’t matter as much as you thought. When my hair was growing back, I embraced the new gray color and short length. It’s a very liberating experience and an opportunity to be thankful for all you have. I am so thankful that they detected the cancer early. You have no choice but to step up to the plate, and you also learn who to let go of, because of their lack of support and presence during the process.

TG: How do you feel now that you’ve beaten the cancer?
CG: I’m very thankful. I still have to get infusions every three weeks. I am grateful to all the people who are trying to find cures and to the cancer doctor and Oncologist.

 

 

 

About the writer: Tiffany is a New York City native who has a heart of gold. She loves yoga and has a huge passion for animals and all their rights. You can keep up with Tiffany by following her on Instagram @coconuthead87

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